Russian Anti-Doping Agency Reinstated By WADA; Subject to Strict Conditions

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was reinstated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Executive Committee at a meeting in Seychelles today, multiple news outlets reported. This ends the three-year suspension that was first initiated in November 2015 thanks to a 9-2 vote.

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie warned today that RUSADA could be declared non-compliant again if they do not follow a “clear timeline” on access to the samples and data at the Moscow Laboratory, according to Inside the Games.

The executive committee decided to reinstate RUSADA under strict conditions.

  1. Russia must ensure the data of the former Moscow Laboratory is handed over to WADA by no later than December 31, 2018.
  2. WADA has also demanded that they be given the chance to re-analyze “any samples as required by WADA” no later than June 30, 2019.

In addition to these strict requirements, RUSADA must undergo a successful inspection carried out within four months to ensure RUSADA continues to meet compliance standards.

“There’s a lot of work ahead. There are conditions…in order to definitively be reinstated we need to meet these conditions. So it’s a conditional reinstatement,” Yuri Ganus, head of RUSADA told Reuters.

On the “Roadmap to Compliance,” outlined by WADA, RUSADA had to fulfill all the remaining criteria to be reinstated. At the meeting in Seychelles, the executive committee deliberated at length as to whether Russian authorities had satisfied the last two remaining requirements, specifically that:

  1. That the responsible authorities for anti-doping in Russia must publicly accept the reported outcomes of the McLaren Investigation; and
  2. That the Russian Government must provide access for appropriate entities to the stored samples and electronic data in the former Moscow Laboratory, which are sealed off due to a Federal investigation.

Reedie said in a WADA media release:

“Today, the great majority of WADA’s ExCo members decided to reinstate RUSADA as compliant with the Code subject to strict conditions, upon recommendation by the Agency’s independent CRC and in accordance with an agreed process. This decision provides a clear timeline by which WADA must be given access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples with a clear commitment by the ExCo that should this timeline not be met, the ExCo would support the CRC’s recommendation to reinstate non-compliance.

“By the terms of today’s Executive Committee decision, we now have a clear timeline to be granted access to the Moscow Laboratory, which has been sealed off due to a federal investigation. The sooner we are able to access the required data and samples, with the potential to implicate or exonerate a great many athletes, the better. If the Russian authorities continue to refuse access and do not meet our deadlines, then RUSADA will again be declared non-compliant under the ISCCS that offers a much more robust legal framework and a clear process. Without this pragmatic approach, we would continue with the impasse and the laboratory data could have remained out of our reach indefinitely, depriving our investigators of potentially critical information. The raw data is the missing piece that will complement the LIMS database and help conclude WADA’s McLaren and Operation LIMS investigations.

“Today, we are in a much better position. WADA understands that this decision will not please everybody. When cheating is as rampant and as organized as it was in Russia, as was definitively established thanks to investigations commissioned by WADA, it undermines so much of what sport stands for. Clean athletes were denied places at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as other major events, and others were cheated of medals. It is entirely understandable that they should be wary about the supposed rehabilitation of offenders. The pressure on WADA to ensure that Russian sport is genuinely clean now and in the future is one that we feel very keenly and we will maintain the highest levels of scrutiny on RUSADA’s operations and independence.”

Earlier this week, USA Swimming’s Athletes’ Committee issued a statement claiming dissatisfaction with WADA’s accelerated plan to reinstate RUSADA. Last week, the International Paralympic Committee urged WADA to resolve the stalemate with RUSADA’s reinstatement.

Despite the mostly positive reactions in Russia, the decision had very mixed reactions throughout the world. Jim Walden, who is the lawyer for Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov provided a statement to Reuters:

“WADA’s decision to reinstate Russia represents the greatest treachery against clean athletes in Olympic history. The United States is wasting its money by continuing to fund WADA, which is obviously impotent to address Russia’s state-sponsored doping. The only way to stem the tide of Russian corruption is for Congress to pass the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, which will give the Department of Justice the necessary tools to put those engaged in doping fraud behind bars, where they belong.”

EU Athletes General Secretary Paulina Tomczyk posted this on Twitter:

The International Paralympic Committee did issue a statement that was positive:

Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “After a long stalemate between the Russian authorities and WADA, I am glad that this situation has moved forward.  There is a lot of work that still needs to be done and RUSADA should be under no illusions that failure to comply fully with the conditions outlined by WADA will result in their swift non-compliance.

“Since the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) was suspended in August 2016, Russia has not been allowed to compete in two Paralympic Games and several World and European Championships, covering some of the biggest sports in the Paralympic Movement.  During this time however, they have made significant progress and we are confident that the anti-doping system now in place in Russia is very different from the corrupted system that existed and polluted international sport.  Russian Para athletes are now amongst the most tested and scrutinized athletes in the world and, following WADA’s decision, this scrutiny will only increase further.

“It is the IPC Taskforce that will assess whether WADA’s decision about RUSADA addresses two of the final three remaining reinstatement criteria related to the RPC suspension.  We do not expect the IPC Taskforce to provide any recommendations to the IPC Governing Board until the criterion related to the IPC’s reimbursement costs associated with the suspension is satisfied.

“Once the IPC Taskforce makes its recommendations, the IPC Governing Board will convene to determine whether to lift the RPC’s suspension.”

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Author: Andy Ross

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Andy Ross is the new man on board at Swimming World. He is based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is a 2017 graduate of Southern Illinois University where he graduated cum laude.

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